The challenge with surgeon burnout is that it is born out of the best of intentions. It happens because you are always striving to improve, do better work and be a better surgeon. You are pushing yourself to be as productive as possible, but you push so hard that you end up burning out.
Managing & Balance
Most doctors view burnout as a problem that requires a solution, but my friend Dike Drummond, The Happy MD, encourages you and I to view it as a dilemma that requires managing and balance.
A dilemma, by definition, is a situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two undesirable or mutually incompatible choices. In this case, it is productivity versus burnout.
The goal is to find a healthy balance between these two options, so you are solidly productive at work without pushing yourself so hard that you burn out. As everyone is different and has unique needs, it is ultimately up to you what this balance will look and feel like.
Creating New Habits
For me, it was an ongoing process of creating new habits. I started by implementing a diet and exercise routine. In my youth I was very physically active, but my practice and lifestyle got in the way of this for twenty years. Now I exercise three times a week and eat healthier. I have turned these daily choices into habits and they contribute to my ability to manage stress and enjoy a better life.
Now it’s your turn. What daily choices can you make to improve your overall well-being without sacrificing productivity?